Wyoming Dems Blast Hageman With Claim She Voted To ‘Defund NATO’

Harriet Hageman says the Wyoming Democratic Party is full of it by claiming she voted to “defund NATO” because she only voted to cut $433 million for one program, not the entire $860 billion the U.S. has committed to NATO.

Leo Wolfson

June 14, 20244 min read

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(Matt Idler for Cowboy State Daily)

When it comes to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Wyoming Republican U.S. Rep. Harriet Hageman said she’s fed up.

“NATO is failing,” Hageman told Cowboy State Daily on Friday morning. “The USA has been shouldering more than our share for decades.”

She’s also fed up with Wyoming Democrats blasting her for her position on NATO.

Last week, Hageman voted to support an amendment brought by conservative firebrand Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Georgia, that would have struck more than "$433 million in NATO funding" from a Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill. Hageman was one of 46 House Republicans to vote for the measure.

Her likely general election opponent, Democrat El (Kyle) Cameron of Cheyenne, blasted the incumbent on Thursday, saying Wyoming needs leaders who support cooperation and collective defense.

“By voting to strip funding from NATO, Harriet Hageman demonstrates her willingness to abandon our allies and endanger the safety and security of Wyomingites and all Americans,” Cameron says in a Wyoming Democratic Party press release. “Siding with dictators like Vladimir Putin over America’s national security is unacceptable.”

The Democratic Party described it as an effort to “defund NATO,” but Hageman said that’s not true because the amendment wouldn’t have cut all U.S. funding for NATO, just one particular military fund.

This is the NATO Security Investment Program, a fund which the U.S. spent $378 million toward in 2023. The NATO funding bill as reported out of committee increased spending for this account by $140 million.

In short, Hageman’s vote was for a cut, not a total divestment from the program.

The U.S. is responsible for about 16% of direct contributions to NATO, giving a total of $640 million directly to the group in 2022.

In total the U.S. spent $860 billion toward its NATO commitments in 2023, 68% of the group’s total military expenditures. In recent years, the U.S. has increased its military spending, according to Visual Capitlaist, experiencing a 6% jump compared to 2021.

What’s NATO?

NATO is an intergovernmental military alliance of 32 member states established in the aftermath of World War II. The group has long been seen as a symbol of international cooperation and safeguard against Russian aggression, as its members agree to defend each other against attacks by third parties.

NATO commitments have long been a thorn in the side of some Republicans like former President Donald Trump, who argue that the U.S. should not be beholden to the organization if European NATO members do not meet the group’s guideline to spend a minimum of 2% of a country’s GDP on defense.

“I have repeatedly said I would support President Trump’s stance to have all NATO countries pay their fair share,” Hageman said.

Trump has not criticized the general purpose of NATO, but some members of both Republican and Democratic parties have argued for the U.S. to take more of an isolationist approach to foreign policy and reduce military commitments.

"We spend billions defending other countries while our southern border lies open and undefended. While America contributes more than its fair share, most NATO member countries don't even spend their minimum obligation of 2% GDP," Greene said on X.

The amendment ultimately failed, as 157 House Republicans voted against it, as did all 197 Democrats.

A Perspective From Israel

Former Wyoming resident Mike Krampner, who now lives in Israel, said the United States should continue supporting NATO. Unlike the United Nations, which he describes as “worthless and corrupt,” he sees NATO as a collection of Western democracies that the U.S. agrees with on most issues, including opposing Russia’s efforts to expand its borders.

“The purpose of NATO is to check that expansionism which has always been brutal, dictatorial and despotic,” Krampner said.

Voting to defund the U.N., Krampner said, would be a different story.

“If Rep. Hageman would vote to defund the stunningly corrupt and dishonest UN that would be a different matter since the UN is a collection of Russian and Chinese allies,” he said.

The UN has been critical of Israel in its war with the terrorist group Hamas, accusing both groups of committing war crimes in the early stages of the Gaza war in a Wednesday report.

Leo Wolfson can be reached at leo@cowboystatedaily.com.

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Leo Wolfson

Politics and Government Reporter